NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Can neighborhood bank branch offices works smarter, and not harder?
Oh, and can they work smaller, too?
Wells Fargo (WFC) aims to find out starting this month. The San Francisco banking giant opened a branch Monday in Washington, D.C., that is one-third the size of the usual and comes well-stocked with such features as mobile banking, new ATMs and image-based bank deposits.
Wells Fargo says its new branch office is only 1,000 square feet -- well below the company's usual 3,000 to 4,000 per branch.Bank executives call it the first in a line of offices catering to what consumers want in a banking market that is turning toward mobile banking and advanced technology banking services. "With this new store concept, we'll be able to offer person-to-person sales and service along with leading banking technology in settings that previously would have discouraged us from building a store," says Jonathan Velline, director of Wells Fargo's ATM banking and store strategy division. "Stores are central to our strategy of providing excellent service and meeting our customers' financial needs. This new neighborhood bank concept complements our traditional stores to help us bring the Wells Fargo store experience to more customers." The branch's large-screen ATMs has software that will anticipate what a customer wants to do, the bank says, as well as dispense different levels of currency -- including $1, $5 and $100 bills. The bank will also offer free wireless hotspots that enable customers to access their bank accounts on the premises. Wells Fargo expects to roll out versions of the bank branch in other markets, tweaking and changing the concept on the fly. "We expect to evolve the concept as we receive feedback from the new store," Velline said. "We believe in using customer feedback to 'test and learn' new products, technologies and services as we seek to continuously provide leading banking experience that meets all our customers' financial needs." Wells Fargo isn't the only bank changing the face of the local bank branch. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citibank (C) also offer neighborhood bank branches with mobile banking services and self-serve, interactive kiosks that allow customers to handle banking needs without a service representative.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV